EAST HANOVER, NJ - From March 5th to the 7th, the hills of East Hanover were alive with the sound of music. Particularly, within the auditorium of East Hanover Middle School, the same could be said as drama students and teachers held their musical production of “The Sound of Music.”

“These kids of East Hanover Middle School are the cream of the crop,” said Natalee Bartlett, superintendent of East Hanover School District.

This cream of crop performed the classic story of Austrian governess Maria Rainer who transforms the dull household of Captain Georg von Trapp and his seven children with the power of music, even as the family faces upcoming oppression by Nazi Germany.

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The sixth to eighth graders found the production a joy and couldn’t wait to give a show for their community, including a free night for the district’s senior citizens on March 5th.

“This musical is a really good opportunity to show who you are also escape the real world and embody a new character,” said 13-year-old eighth grader Ava Patanella, who has been acting and singing since she was seven. “My character Maria is very strong and open. It’s an amazing experience and enjoy acting with my friends.”

And Ava and her friend had fun, wowing the crowds, numbering to 300 each night, with their acting and vocal talents, singing classics like “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “The Lonely Goatherd,” and “Edelweiss.”

“All the actors were absolutely fabulous,” said East Hanover resident Coonie Weakland, whose 12-year-old sons James and Michael played Kurt von Trapp and Nazi supporter Herr Zeller. “You can tell the kids had a great time and lots of fun on stage. The talent is exceptional at East Hanover Middle School.”

Karen Luzniak was another proud parent as she watched her son, 15-year-old eighth grader Elijah, perform as Captain Georg von Trapp. “Elijah did such an amazing job,” said Luzniak. “He totally surprised me on how talented and confident he has become. The rest of the kids are also talented. They even got a lot of feedback from the senior citizens during Senior Night.”

“The Sound of Music” was adapted by a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.

This middle school production was directed by Angelo De Fazio.

Later, on May 8th and 9th, the musical production season intends to go on in Florham Park at Ridgedale Middle School, with their performance of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda.”